PLEASE NOTE:


*

CCNet, 40/2000 - 27 March 2000
------------------------------


     "A Bible scholar believes that he has found the ruins of Sodom and
     Gomorrah, the evil cities destroyed by God with fire and
     brimstone, after leading the first expedition to explore the
     bottom of the Dead Sea. Michael Sanders and an international team
     of researchers discovered what appear to be the salt-encrusted
     remains of ancient settlements on the seabed after several fraught
     weeks diving in a mini submarine. Mr Sanders, a Briton who is now
     based in the United States, said yesterday that he was "immensely
     excited" about the find, and he is already planning a follow-up
     expedition.
          -- The Sunday Telegraph, 26 March 2000


(1) SODDOM AND GOMORRAH ARE 'FOUND AT BOTTOM OF DEAD SEA'
    The Sunday Telegraph, 26 March 2000

(2) NEW ORBIT VISUALISATION TOOL ONLINE
    Ron Baalke <baalke@jpl.nasa.gov>

(3) FOLLOW-UP ON PANSPERMIA
    Jon Richfield <jonr@iafrica.com>

(4) IAU GENERAL ASSEMBLY, AUGUST 2000
    Jacqueline Mitton <aco01@dial.pipex.com>

(5) TRITON'S SURFACE AGE, IMPACTOR POPULATION & THE FLUX OF EKOs
    S.A. Stern*) & W.B. McKinnon, SW RES INST,DEPT SPACE STUDIES

(6) CAN WE REALLY PREDICT TECHNOLOGICAL EVOLUTION?
    B. Bowonder et al., ADM STAFF COLL INDIA

(7) TITUS-BODE REVISITED, OR HOW THE DEBRIS CAME ABOUT
    Timo Niroma <timo.niroma@tilmari.pp.fi>

(8) THE BRIGHTNESS OF IEOOs
    Jeremy Tatum <UNIVERSE@uvvm.UVic.CA>

(9) AGE OF THE EARTH
    Leroy Ellenberger <c.leroy@rocketmail.com>

(10) AND FINALLY: PUNCTURES IN SHIPS AND SPACE SHIPS
     Malcolm Miller <stellar2@actonline.com.au>

==================
(1) SODDOM AND GOMORRAH ARE 'FOUND AT BOTTOM OF DEAD SEA'

From The Sunday Telegraph, 26 March 2000
http://www.telegraph.co.uk:80/et?ac=000161300847884&rtmo=faNDvMrs&atmo=99999999&pg=/et/00/3/26/wsod26.html

By Jonathan Petre

A Bible scholar believes that he has found the ruins of Sodom and
Gomorrah, the evil cities destroyed by God with fire and brimstone,
after leading the first expedition to explore the bottom of the Dead
Sea.

Michael Sanders [a long-time CCNet-subscriber] and an international
team of researchers discovered what appear to be the salt-encrusted
remains of ancient settlements on the seabed after several fraught
weeks diving in a mini submarine. Mr Sanders, a Briton who is now based
in the United States, said yesterday that he was "immensely excited"
about the find, and he is already planning a follow-up expedition.

He said: "The evidence cannot be ignored. I predicted there must be 
something extraordinary there and, lo and behold, there was. What we
found matches exactly what the remains of an ancient city might look
like."

Dr John Whitaker, a geologist from Leicester University and the former
editor of Geology Today, said yesterday that the new development -
which will be unveiled in a television documentary tomorrow - appeared
"very significant". He said: "There is a good chance that these mounds
are covering up brick structures and are one of the lost cities of the
plains, possibly even Sodom or Gomorrah, though I would have to examine
the evidence. These Bible stories were handed down by word of mouth
from generation to generation before they were written down, and there
seems to be a great deal in this one."

God's destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah to punish the sexual immorality
of their inhabitants is one of the most graphic episodes in the Old
Testament. Genesis says that "the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon
Gomorrah brimstone and fire out of heaven. And he overthrew those
cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and
that which grew upon the ground".

Many archaeologists and scholars have concluded that the story was
symbolic, a warning to erring humans of the divine punishment they
faced for wickedness. But there has been speculation for centuries that
the cities existed in the region of the Dead Sea. A growing number of
experts, including Mr Sanders, are now convinced that "the cities of
the plain" were destroyed by an earthquake, which threw up flaming
pitch, about 5,000 years ago.

Since the 1960s, archaeologists have discovered mass graves on a
peninsula jutting into the Dead Sea which contain human bones dating
from the Old Testament period. And sulphur, or brimstone, have been
found in nearby cliffs, adding to the mystery.

More recently, Mr Sanders unearthed a map dating from 1650 which
reinforced to his belief that the sites of the two cities could be
under the north basin, rather than on the southern edge of the Dead
Sea. He recruited Richard Slater, an American geologist and expert in
deep sea diving, to take him to the depths of the Dead Sea in the
two-man Delta mini-submarine that was involved in the discovery of the
sunken liner, the Lusitani.

Also part of the expedition, which took place in November, was Zvi
Ben-Avraham, the director of the Dead Sea Research Centre, who has
studied the region for decades. Their explorations in November, which
were filmed for a Channel 4 documentary to be broadcast at 8pm tomorrow
night, were fraught with difficulties. The 10ft submarine, which was
flown in from California, had to be weighted down with lead to
counteract the buoyancy of the salty water. Because of constraints of
time and money, only four dives were undertaken.

To complicate matters further, the Dead Sea is a military zone with the
border between Israel and Jordan running down the middle of it.
Attempts by researchers to explore the most important site nearly
sparked an international incident because it was partly in Jordanian
waters, and military authorities ordered the submarine out.

Mr Sanders is in little doubt that the salt-covered mounds, found over
an area 800 yards square, are man-made structures. He said: "I have
spoken to geologists and nobody has come up with the suggestion that
they are natural phenomena. We don't know what else they could be if
they are not ruins. But we need more conclusive evidence by chipping
off the salt. That's why we need to go back."

Copyright 2000, The Sunday Telegraph

CONGRATULATIONS ON A FASCINATING STORY. WELL DONE, MIKE!

============================
(2) NEW ORBIT VISUALISATION TOOL ONLINE

From Ron Baalke <baalke@jpl.nasa.gov>

A new Orbits section has been added to JPL's Near-Earth Object home
page. The highlight is a cool visualization tool. It is an interactive
3D orbit viewer written in Java, and you can view the orbit of any
asteroid or comet. You can rotate the orbits around and zoom in, move
around the solar system and "play" the orbits backwards and forwards
like a movie. It resides right here:

http://neo.jpl.nasa.gov/orbits

You'll have to select an object of interest first, by either entering
the asteroid/comet's name (wildcards are allowed), or making a
selection from the table of Potentially Hazardous Asteroids provided.

Ron Baalke

==================
(3) FOLLOW-UP ON PANSPERMIA

From Jon Richfield <jonr@iafrica.com>

Some time ago I contributed an essay critical of panspermia to the
CCNet list server. The list server's primary subject matter is
Near Earth Objects, however, and its standards of mutual courtesy
demand a higher level of formality than I normally can sustain, so
the discussion got chopped about there. I got to hear however that
Brig Klyce of the panspermia.org web site had prepared a
refutation and it seemed to me unfair that he could not have his
say. I accordingly emailed him and invited him to join me in
preparing a common statement on the subject, partly for personal
satisfaction and partly in the hopes of producing a document of
value to people in search of a coherent discussion. 

Unfortunately we differed too radically to establish any coherent
common statement. So instead, I have collected effectively the
entire correspondence into an almost undoctored document, zipped
it, and interested persons may email me for a copy. Whether anyone
will find the document entertaining I cannot predict, but at least
one correspondent could not see what a panspermist could say in
reply to my original essay and I think that this correspondence
answers that question most emphatically. The main points that
emerge include the tendency of anti-Darwinists to play fast and
loose with the implications of Darwinism (I had taken Darwinism
for granted in the essay, but it seems that not everyone is
equally comfortable with the established philosophy) and some
rickety reasoning with large numbers and their implications for
constraints in biology, physics, cosmology and indeed
information theory.

Jon Richfield

MODERATOR'S NOTE: In response to Jon's CCNet-Essay "PLAUSIBILITY,
SIGNIFICANCE & THE PANSPERMIA EPIDEMIC"
(http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/ccc/ce020200.html),
I did receive a brief statement by Brig Klyce some while ago. It
included what I considered to be derogatory rhetoric which is not
accepted on CCNet as a matter of principle. However, I asked Brig to
revise his statement and offered him any space he wanted and an open
forum on CCNet to make his point. This offer to engage in a gentlemanly
debate still stands.

======================
(4) IAU GENERAL ASSEMBLY, AUGUST 2000

From Jacqueline Mitton <aco01@dial.pipex.com>

INTERNATIONAL ASTRONOMICAL UNION
/UNION ASTRONOMIQUE INTERNATIONALE

XXIVth GENERAL ASSEMBLY, 7 - 18 August 2000
University of Manchester, UK

1st Media Announcement
Date: 22nd March 2000

Press Officer for the Assembly:
Dr Jacqueline Mitton (Royal Astronomical Society Press Officer)
jmitton@dial.pipex.com
Phone: +44 (0)1223 564914
Fax: +44 (0)1223 572892

The 24th General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union (IAU)
will take place in Manchester, UK, between the 7th and 18th August
2000. Over 2000 astronomers from all over the world are expected. Media
representative are cordially invited to attend. Registration is free
for working media, press officers and public information officers.
Press room facilities will be available for the main core of the
meeting (afternoon of Tuesday 8th August through to the morning of
Wednesday 16th August).

Badges will be required for access to the meeting. If possible, please
register in advance so your badge will be ready. Send Jacqueline Mitton
(meeting press officer) your name, affiliation, e-mail address and
phone number. Press registration will also be available at the meeting.

Accommodation, meal packages, local tours and travel to the meeting may
be booked through the company managing the administration of the
meeting (WEM). You will be charged at the same rate as meeting
participants. Details of what is available may be found at that meeting
web site:

http://www.iau-ga2000.org

Please note, however, that attempting to book accommodation etc.
on-line will result in the automatic charging of a registration fee to
your account. IF YOU WANT TO BOOK ACCOMMODATION ETC., PLEASE CONTACT
JACQUELINE MITTON ABOUT YOUR REQUIREMENTS. Your request will be dealt
with individually to ensure that no registration fee is charged.

Meeting programme

The main core of the meeting (9 - 16 August) is organised around 14
Joint Discussions (JD), most lasting for one day. Five longer Symposia
(4 or 5 days) will also take place during the two-week period 7 - 18
August.

Full details of the programme are on the following web site:

http://www.iau.org/ga24.html

Summary of Joint Discussion topics

JD1 Atomic and molecular data for astrophysics (Weds 9th & Thurs 10th)
JD2 Models and constants for sub-microarcsecond astrometry (Thurs 10th)
JD3 Massive star birth (Thurs 10th)
JD4 The Transneptunian population (Fri 11th & Sat 12th)
JD5 Mixing and diffusion in stars (Fri 11th)
JD6 Applied historical astronomy (Fri 11th)
JD7 The Sun and space weather (Fri 11th & Sat 12th)
JD8 Oxygen abundances in old stars and implication to nucleosynthesis and
cosmology (Mon 14th)
JD9 Cold gas and dust at high redshift (Mon 14th)
JD10 (Galaxy) Cluster mergers and their connection to radio sources (Mon
14th)
JD11 First results from the FUSE mission (Mon 14th)
JD12 Highlights of planetary exploration from space and from Earth (Tue 15th
& Wed 16th)
JD13 Hipparcos and luminosity calibration of the nearest stars (Tue 15th)
JD14 The origins of galactic magnetic fields (Tue 16th)

Invited lectures (6 p.m.)
Tue 8th "An accelerating universe? Evidence from supernovae" Robert P.
Kirshner (Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics)
Mon 14th "Extrasolar planetary systems" Michael Mayor (Geneva Observatory)
Tue 15th "The three-dimensional structure of our Galaxy" Michael Perryman
(ESTEC)

Symposia

S201: (Mon 7th - Fri 11th) New cosmological data and the vales of the
fundamental parameters

S202: (Mon 7th - Thur 10th) Planetary systems in the universe

S203: (Mon 7th - Fri 11th) Recent insights into the physics of the Sun and
heliosphere - highlights from SOHO and other space missions

S204: (Tue 15th - Fri 18th) The extragalactic infrared background and
its cosmological implications

S205: (Tue 15th - Fri 18th) Galaxies and their constituents at the
highest angular resolutions


Special Session
Mon 14th - Wed 16th Astronomy for developing countries

Education Session
Fri 18th Astronomy research projects for school and university students

Public lectures (arranged locally, outside official programme), chaired
by Patrick Moore. 6.30 p.m.

Tue 8th Prof. Sir Martin Rees "The beginning and end of the universe"
Fri 11th Dr David Hughes "Asteroids and Comets"
Thur 17th Prof. Jocelyn Bell-Burnell "Pulsars"
Fri 18th Dr Jill Tarter "The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence"

=========================
(5) TRITON'S SURFACE AGE, IMPACTOR POPULATION & THE FLUX OF EKOs

S.A. Stern*) & W.B. McKinnon: Triton's surface age and impactor
population revisited in light of Kuiper belt fluxes: Evidence for small
Kuiper belt objects and recent geological activity. ASTRONOMICAL
JOURNAL, 2000, Vol.119, No.2, pp.945-952

*) SW RES INST,DEPT SPACE STUDIES,1050 WALNUT ST,SUITE
   426,BOULDER,CO,80302

Neptune's largest satellite, Triton, is one of the most fascinating and
enigmatic bodies in the solar system. Among its numerous interesting
traits, Triton appears to have far fewer craters than would be expected
if its surface were primordial. Here we combine the best available
crater count data for Triton with improved estimates of impact rates by
including the Kuiper belt as a source of impactors. We find that the
population of impacters creating the smallest observed craters on
Triton must be subkilometer in scale and that this small-impactor
population can be best fitted by a differential power-law size index
near -3. Such results provide interesting, indirect probes of the
unseen small body population of the Kuiper belt. Based on the modern,
Kuiper belt and Oort cloud impactor flux estimates, we also recalculate
estimated ages for several regions of Triton's surface imaged by
Voyager 2, and find that Triton was probably quite geologically active
on a timescale no greater than 0.1-0.3 Gyr ago (indicating Triton was
still active after some 90% to 98% of the age of the solar system), and
perhaps even more recently. This activity must surpass that explainable
by the surface geysers seen by Voyager 2 by many orders of magnitude.
The time-averaged volumetric resurfacing rate on Triton implied by
these results, 0.01. km(3) yr(-1) or more, is likely second only to Io
and Europa in the outer solar system, and is within an order of
magnitude of estimates for Venus and for the Earth's intraplate zones.
This finding indicates that Triton likely remains a highly geologically
active world at present, some 4.5 Gyr after its formation. We briefly
speculate on how such a situation might obtain. Copyright 2000,
Institute for Scientific Information Inc.

=============
(6) CAN WE REALLY PREDICT TECHNOLOGICAL EVOLUTION?

B. Bowonder*), B. Muralidharan, T. Miyake: Forecasting technological
change: insights from theories of evolution. INTERDISCIPLINARY SCIENCE
REVIEWS, 1999, Vol.24, No.4, pp.275-288

*) ADM STAFF COLL INDIA,HYDERABAD 500082,ANDHRA PRADESH,INDIA

This paper applies concepts from the theory of evolution in nature,
such as adaptation, punctuated equilibrium, purposive selection,
hierarchical selection, and self-organisation, to the analysis of
technological change. Future technological trajectories are uncertain.
However, it is possible to analyse the structure of technological
trajectories using analogies from evolution. Scanning signals of
change, developing anticipatory intelligence, and continuously
assessing trajectories are the major initiatives or competencies
required for improving our ability to predict future technological
paths. Copyright 2000, Institute for Scientific Information Inc.

=============================
* LETTERS TO THE MODERATOR *
=============================

(7) TITUS-BODE REVISITED, OR HOW THE DEBRIS CAME ABOUT

From Timo Niroma <timo.niroma@tilmari.pp.fi>

Dear Benny,

Already as a schoolboy I wondered why the Titius-Bode law worked.
I made my own version of it, and have wondered over 30 years why
it also works.

First I divided the planets into three groups so that each group
consisted of three planets. Then there were the leftovers, that
remained as a loose group, the so called Kuiper belt. The groups
were:

1. The small planets that were born from the heavy debris that
remained near the Sun: Mercury, Venus and the double planet
Earth/Moon.

2. Then main ring consisting of dirty gas, meaning gas with still
some heavy elements: Mars, debris with too small amount of dust to
coalesce and small sister of sun, Jupiter. Solar wind seems to
have swept the light elements to the end of this ring.

3. The ring of  relatively light gas, from which were born Saturn,
Uranus and Neptune.

The three rings (plus possibly the Kuiper belt) adjusted to their
places avoiding arithmetic resonance, but remaining in a geometric
resonance to each other.

This also happened inside the rings, when gravity began to
coalesce the material into three rings, which with one exception
then coalesced into planets. The resonance placed the planets into
the low and high end of the ring plus into the geometrical, not
arithmetical center of it. What is amazing, is that it seems that
the same resonance law that placed the planets into their
positions, reigns also in the nucleus of the atom, where the
average amount of neutrons seems to make the atomic weight (the
average of the reigning isotopes)  behave in equal ways as the
resonance of planets. What happens in small scale seems to obey
same laws on a much grander scale.

Before I introduce my equation, I remark that actually it needs a
factor, let's call it k, with which the atomic weights should be
multiplied. But when we use kilometers as the distance measure of
planets, it is so near to 1, that for clarity's sake I have
omitted it. When using some non-SI measure stick, such as miles,
you need it.

Then let's begin with the first planets. Their distance
corresponds to atomic weight of the element number 2.5*n, where n
is the number of planet from the sun. When the atomic weight is
multiplied by (k*) tens of millions of kilometers, we get the
distance of the planet.

Mercury   58 mil.km /2=helium, 3=litium  -> (4+6.94)/2 = 5.5/ 106%
Venus    108 mil.km /5=borium            -> 10.8/             100%
Earth    150 mil.km /7=nitrogen, 8=oxygen-> (14+16)/2=15.0 /  100%

Now the gap between the two first rings means that we must add 3.5
elements (1 for the preceding group and 2.5 for the distance of
the group) so that Mars does not correspond to element 10 but 11,
and the next series goes 11*n, where Mars gets the number one,
asteroids 2 and Jupiter 3.

Mars       228 mil. km     / 11 = sodium   ---> 23.0 /   99%
asteroids 472 mil. km *) / 22 = titanium   ---> 47.9 /  99%
Jupiter     778 mil. km     / 33 = arsenium ---> 74.9 / 104%
*) Calculated from the densest group avg. (Binzel-Gehrels-Matthews,
Arizona, 1989)

Now to the third group. Albeit the elements are ending just before
Uranus, but let's try. Now we need to add for the gap 26.5
elements (2 for the groups, and 2.5 and 2*11 for the distances of
the groups), so that Saturn equals element 59.5 instead of 44
(2+2.5+11). The series goes then 59.5*n, where Saturn is 1, Uranus
2 and Neptune 3.
Saturn     1427 mil.km / 59=praseodyme, 60=neodyme ->(140..91+144.24)/2=142.6    / 100%
Uranus    2871 mil.km / 119 ---> 295 *)                  /   97%
Neptune  4497 mil.km / 178.5 --->  c. 460 **)            /c.98% 
*) extrapolated from elements 116 and 118
**) estimate based on the known part of the element table

Questions arise, how and why. The fit is however so good, that it
somehow cries for an explanation. And without it, it would give
some hints, how our solar system got started. And also how the
average number of neutrons in atoms get their number.

But now I cast this problem, that has bothered me for 30 years, for
anyone to wonder.

Timo Niroma

=================
(8) THE BRIGHTNESS OF IEOOs

From Jeremy Tatum <UNIVERSE@uvvm.UVic.CA>

While it is true that an IEOO at a large phase angle is a narrow
crescent and therefore faint on that account, it is also true that at
large phase angles it is close to us and therefore larger in angular
size and therefore bright on that account.  With Mercury, the phase is
the more important factor, while with Venus the distance is more
important, which is why Mercury is brightest when gibbous and Venus is
brightest when a crescent. If the brightness of a spherical IEOO is
proportional to its visible illuminated area, and its orbit is
circular, it will be brightest when gibbous, or at dichotomy (greatest
elongation), or a crescent depending on whether the radius of its orbit
is less than, equal to or greater than 0.447213596 A.U.

Jeremy Tatum

==============
(9) AGE OF THE EARTH

From Leroy Ellenberger <c.leroy@rocketmail.com>

Bob, [Bob Johnson]

Contrary to your remark in CCNet [03/24/00] about geologists having considered
Earth's age to be x*10**6 years within the past 50 years, its age has
been taken to be at least 10**9 yrs since the 1940s, if memory serves.
At any rate, you might wish to check out Brent Dalrymple's mid-'90s
book on the age of the Earth for details of this saga. The 4.5*10**9
year age is based on U-Pb radiometric dating which is concordant with
ages derived from other radiometric systems.

Cheers,

Leroy Ellenberger

==============
(10) AND FINALLY: PUNCTURES IN SHIPS AND SPACE SHIPS

From Malcolm Miller <stellar2@actonline.com.au>

Dear Benny,

How often do we have to re-invent the wheel? Why do we forget old and
well-developed technologies that are relevant to new activities?  I was
moved to these views by the report in CCNet today 'MARSHALL ENGINEERS
DEVELOP METEOROID REPAIT KIT'.

Critical punctures in hull skinning were well known in Napoleonic
times.  The solid iron cannon balls of the day, striking wooden ships
below the waterline, made holes which had to be plugged promptly if the
ship was to stay afloat.

Last time this occurred to me was when Mir suffered punctures - and
they couldn't be found and plugged after a number of spacewalks!  This
seemed ridiculous.  But the reason is made clear in the Marshall
report:

     "A hole as small as 1 inch in diameter in a vehicle the size of
     the Space Station could bleed off enough air in just one hour to
     put the crew at risk. That doesn't give them much time to locate
     the damage and seal the leak from inside the station -- especially
     when bulky equipment and experiment racks may block access to many
     of its interior walls."

What kind of engineering design is this? In wooden ships the hazard was
well understood.  All around the critical area of the hull was a
walkway, known as the 'carpenter's walk', giving access to the most
vulnerable part of the vessel.  It was not just the custom, but the law
of the sea, that no obstruction, in the shape of cargo, stores or
equipment, could be installed or stowed in a way to obstruct this
essential repair zone.

I rest my case!

Malcolm Miller

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CCCMENU CCC for 2000

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